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10 Questions with Niamh Forde ahead of the 2024 Leinster Ladies Football Final

Kevin Regan
May 14, 2024

On Sunday the Carlow Ladies Footballers will look to add to their League silverware when they go in search of a Leinster title against Louth at 1pm in O'Moore Park.

Ahead of the game, we conducted a Q&A session with a key member of the side - Niamh Forde.

1. It's been some year so far, is it your most enjoyable to date?

Absolutely, I’ve had some great years in football before but nothing beats the streak we’ve been on recently. But to be fair, I think the wins we’ve been getting this year are thanks to the work that’s been put in years before. Hopefully this year is only going to get better.

2. Was it relief more so than anything to win promotion?

⁠Getting promotion was a relief as it is something we were aiming to achieve this year. We’ve been going toe to toe with Division 3 teams like Louth and Wexford the last few years so we knew we were well capable of playing at that level.

3. What's special about this group?

⁠It’s hard to say what exactly but I think that it’s the belief and trust we have in each other. There’s so many hardworking and talented players on the panel and we’ve clicked so well with each other this year.

4. How big an influence has Ed Burke been?

⁠Eds' influence can’t be understated. He believes in us so much, and his confidence in our abilities has brought us on hugely. Him and his whole team have brought a new life to Carlow football. He wouldn't like me to say it but I think I speak for the whole panel when I say that we wouldn’t have got to where we are without him.

5. What are you expecting from Louth? ⁠

We’re expecting a huge challenge from Louth. We’ve been beaten by them before in Leinster Finals and we know they’ve got some excellent footballers especially in the likes of Kate Flood and Niamh Rice. We have a lot of faith that we can win but it’s not going to be easy!

6. How much would a win here mean going into the All Ireland series?

A win would be huge for us going into the All Ireland series. We’ve a really tough group to get through to make it to Semi's and to have two medals in our pocket going into those matches would be a great confidence boost for us. Winning an All Ireland is of course our goal this year and this Sunday is another important stepping stone to get there.

7. How important have the younger/new members of the panel been?

The newer players have been so important to us this year. You only have to look at Maeve who’s scored two critical goals for us, and the other minors Bronagh, Tara and Megan have all played important roles throughout the league. The newer players, Beibhinn, Helen, Leah and Siofra have added a new level of competition for places into the panel which has brought up the intensity of training. We’re so lucky to have them all.

8. What’s your match day routine?

I like to get a good breakfast in the morning anyways, I usually have some weetabix but Rachel Sawyer would tell you spuds are best before a match! I try to have my gear ready the night before, but Bernie will tell you that I always forget things too. I’ve had to borrow gum shields and socks off her plenty of times. Me and the other Old Leighlin girls usually travel together and it’s always nice to have a bit of a chat before we get to the match.

9. What are you like before a game?

I’m fairly relaxed before matches. I remember being told when I was younger that no matter what happens during the match you still have to get up the next day and life carries on as before, so that’s something I always think about if I’m nervous. I know some of the other girls would have their own routines, like Niamh Murphy who always puts a lucky coin in her sock.

10. What’s your message to the young up and coming players?

Always celebrate your wins, but don’t be afraid of losing either. Football has its ups and downs and as cliched as it is all you can ever do is try your best.